Tokusen Shinmyocho (特選神名牒)
Tokusen Shinmyocho (also read jinmyocho) is a commentary on 'Engishiki Jinmyocho' (the Register of Deities of the Engishiki)
Compiled by Kyobusho (the Ministry of Religion, Meiji Government), it consists of 32 volumes. Historical evidence was studied consulting with the official histories, ancient books and such reference books as 'Jinja Torishirabesho' (Investigation Documents of Shinto Shrines) and 'Jinja Meisaicho' (Official Records of Shinto Shrines) which were prepared by each prefecture in the Meiji period, and shikinaisha (shrines listed in the Engishiki Jinmyocho) are listed in the same order as in 'Jinmyocho', together with each shrine's details such as enshrined deity (saijin), deity's ranking (shin-i), shrine's ranking (shakaku) and location. The compilation team appears to have included such Kyobusho officials as Hiroshi KURITA, Kiyonori KONAKAMURA, Sugimura KOSUGI and Yorikuni INOUE, but no precise details are known as the relevant documents were destroyed by fire (as explained later). Since its tentative completion in 1876, the handwritten book was kept by the Bureau of Shrines within the Home Ministry, and it was published in 1925 by Isobe Koyodo in a single book bound in Western style.
History of Compilation
History of the preceding period
In 1868, a circular notice was issued to the shrines located nationwide that each shrine should submit its historical origin to the lord of each locality, and on June 10 of the next year each of the prefectures (comprising fu, han and ken) was asked to investigate and record the historical origin and the biography for each of the shikinaisha and the great shrines (taisha) venerated in each prefecture. As this work did not progressed smoothly, however, another order was placed with each prefecture on February 29, 1871, that the details of the national shrines located in each prefecture should be reported to Jingikan (the Department of Divinities), based on which 'Shikisha Sukeisha Shirabesho' (Survey on the Shikinaisha and the Venerated Shrines) was compiled. On the 28th day of the tenth month of 1871, each prefecture was asked, arising from the need for formulating the regulations on shrines, to conduct a detailed survey on the shrines located in its jurisdiction (which was compiled into 'Daisho Jinja Torishirabesho' (Survey on Large and Small Shrines), in accordance with which the ranking for national and other shrines was established in May 1872. Refer to Kindai Shakaku Seido (the Modern Shrine Ranking System) for more details.
As the regulations on shrines formulated in 1871 decided the ranking of shrines based on the situation of those days, some shrines among the shikinaisha and the kokushigenzaisha (shrines appearing in the six official histories) were not given a ranking (these are called mukakusha). Compilation of Tokusen Shinmyocho originated in Kyobusho (reconstituted Jingikan) which was concerned about the risk that those unranked shrines might be eliminated. On April 10, 1874, Kyobusho asked their superior office Dajokan (Grand Council of State) for their view on the appropriateness of compiling Tokusen Shinmyocho targeting mainly those shrines listed in Engishiki or appearing in the six official histories with a suggestion that a remote worship ritual be conducted in the Three Shrines in the Imperial Court (jointly worshiped in the Imperial Sanctuary at the time) in every spring and autumn for all the shrines to be listed and that the lands of those shrines be preserved in the same manner as in the case of the national shrines. And on April 17, they submitted to Dajokan a draft notice to be dispatched from Dajokan to each prefecture for a survey on the shrines in its jurisdiction. Within Dajokan there was a fear that each prefecture's office work might be troubled, and when they approached the Home Ministry on May 5 about the appropriateness of the idea, an objection, as was expected, was filed within the Ministry on the grounds that it would only cause administrative complications for the regional governments (May 14). Therefore, while they approved the compilation work itself, Dajokan instructed Kyobusho to put judgment on hold until the compilation work was completed as to the appropriateness of the remote worship ritual at the Imperial Shrines and the preservation of shrine lands, and to dispatch the official notice on the survey to each prefecture under the name of Kyobusho, not of Dajokan (May 22). Then in June, Kyobusho sent out the official notice to each prefecture that the shrines in its jurisdiction which were either listed in Engishiki or appeared in the six official histories be surveyed without omission and that the survey results be reported to Kyobusho by the end of September 1874. Incidentally, the following eleven items were to be covered by the survey; 1. location of enshrinement, 2. name of shrine, 3. enshrined deity, 4. shrine's history (including the Shinto priest's family line), 5. when the deity was called for (year/month), 6. date of the regular festival, 7. shrine's building area, 8. shrine's precincts (including the former precincts), 9. land belonging to shrine, 10. number of parishioner households, 11. distance from the government office responsible. The Ministry of Religion assigned the work of compilation mainly to the staff of the Shrine and Temple Section and the Historical Study Section. Since, however, the survey this time demanded to cover much more details than did the shrine survey of 1869 to 1871, the survey results were not readily been reported back even after the deadline. Besides, despite the Ministry's repeated urging, a number of prefectures asked for a postponement every time. Collection of the survey reports was proceeding with difficulty even in August 1876, but being urged by the determination to abolish Kyobusho the following January, the compilation work was brought to tentative fruition in December of the same year even with some incompleteness, which is this book.
History concerning the publishing
Compiled in 1876, the work was stored by the Home Ministry, and as it was inconvenient for viewing, a plan to publish it was developed in 1922. Isobe Koyodo started to prepare for publishing and while they were printing the work in September 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake took place, in which all the relevant documents were destroyed by fire, including the original copies (drafts and clean copies kept by the Home Ministry), 'Shikisha Sukeisha Shirabesho' and 'Daisho Jinja Torishirabesho' which were mentioned earlier, except for 4 volumes of the original copies. Fortunately the president of Koyodo took with him 580 pages of the proofread dies when escaping, and the drafts which had been sent out for printing were also recovered together with its container.
These materials were then proofread by a team headed by Akira OTA, a temporary-staff of the Home Ministry at that time, and, while it was not possible to check against the originals, the book was finally published containing additional data of the locations and the shrine rankings known at the time of the Taisho period, in the light of 'Jinja Meisaicho.'
Additionally, the original copies seem to have contained descriptions of kokushigenzaisha (shrines appearing in the six official histories) as well according to the introductory notes, but they are not found in the presently available book.